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Meat ban: Is India a secular country?
As Indians we claim that we are a secular nation and we point to our neighbouring country in comparison where people of other faiths are persecuted in the name of religion. But the meat ban in certain Indian states on the occasion of a Jain festival exposes our so-called secularism as a hollow one.
It is a well-known fact that in most Christian and Muslim households, non-vegetarian food is a staple. Even many Hindus can't do without meat for that matter. So the decision to ban meat in certain states for as many as four days sounds like an attempt to arm-twist such communities into following a practice of the Jain community without their consent. Since the Jains do not seem to have raised such a demand it looks very likely that vote-bank politics is behind this decision.

That the Shiv Sena has opposed the government's move is significant. But then again the Sena is not known for its sense of tolerance and accommodation, so it is clear that the party is only bent on appeasing its own followers. Food is an important part of a community's cultural life and the government has no business dictating what kind of food people should eat.

Playing such games in the name of vote bank politics will only rend the multi-textured fabric of the nation by creating hostility and misunderstanding between communities. There are many other pressing issues that the government should be concerned about, like farmer suicides, malnutrition, corruption, and so on. The nation would be better served if it does something about them instead of declaring meat bans and the like. Such things only bring ridicule to our nation in the eyes of the world.

It is high time politicians realised the damage done to the secular values enshrined in our Constitution because of their pandering to the whims and fancies of various communities. Their actions have polarized the country making people cling more than ever to religious, regional, linguistic and caste identities. This does not bode well for the nation. The very idea of nationhood will be threatened in the face of this fragmentation.

Politicians should realise that India's strength lies in its unity and its diversity is something to be celebrated rather than condemned. It is the mix of peoples, cultures, faiths, languages, cuisines, traditions, costumes that makes India such a unique and vibrant nation.

This is one reason why some European countries are opening their doors to refugees today. They recognise that homogenous cultures and nations are dull and monochromatic whereas heterogenous ones are full of colour and vitality.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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